8 Effective Productivity Tips for Creatives

I struggle every day with accomplishing goals and tasks. Some of this is due to the workload, some due to my ADHD, but mostly due to self-created distraction. Fortunately, I’ve discovered some great ways to overcome these obstacles. If there’s a list you read today, this should be it.

1. Sticky notes

Tactile, visual, and bright. Get mini-sticky notes and start putting your tasks on them. Place them all over your monitors. Make mini-calendars and stick it to your wall / cube. Make development and design queues and move tasks from one sticky row to another when their status changes.

2. Move away from Project Management Systems

Trello is great, but it’s just digital sticky notes. Some people spend days planning out elaborate project plans and deadlines in systems like Asana and Trello — just to have them fall through. Setting tasks in these systems require details. If you’re just setting a list of un-detailed tasks, just stop using the system. Learn the moves that work for you and your team. Sometimes it’s just simple.

3. Take your Medicine

Yeah, it can be tedious to take medication according to the bottle. But if you need to focus and you’re supposed to take medicine, take it. Why would you let yourself go crazy and get distracted when you could be amped up on amphetamines or SSRIs. Take your medicine.

4. Hire people to help you

If you have money or lead a team, but can’t seem to complete tasks — just hire people that will. Sure, you can draw, design, or whatever, but sometimes it’s easier just to direct someone else. Write out your vision, work side-by-side, and enjoy the fruits of their labor. If it doesn’t work out or add up, find someone else!

5. Delete your social media accounts

Social media serves no functional purpose. It is an effective time waster and a cheap dopamine release system, but outside of this — nothing you do on social media will matter in the long run. Stop using Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. While you’re at it, stop going to Reddit and 4chan and The Huffington Post.

6. Don’t talk about your personal projects

If you tell someone you’re going to build the greatest app or write the coolest Medium.com article — odds are you won’t do it. Getting praise for mentioning a project releases the dopamine that completion would. Basically, you can see this phenomena happen on a larger scale with Kickstarter projects. It’s an actual phenomena. Stop announcing your projects until you’re almost complete!

7. Work / Life Balance

We all die. Work is important, so make sure you do work at work. Life is great but we don’t have an achievement system built into it yet. The internet is a great tool for efficiency and the computer is a great tool for being creative and designing. Remember, do your best at work for the job. Do your best in life for yourself and your family. This leads me to our last tip.

8. Make what you want

There’s a bazillion people on Earth. When you stop trying to make things for others and create artwork for yourself that you enjoy, odds are — someone else will like it. We’re all connected in this world. When you stop creating content for LIKES, FAVORITES, HEARTS, and FOLLOWERS, you can actually begin to focus on your content. Interact honestly with people who find your work. Remember, behind most avatars is an individual with a brain. Engage with your audience and create what you like. It’s mutually beneficial. No expectations are set and your audience can just enjoy what you release. You feel no pressure to spend hours trying to game social feeds with your great new stuff specifically targeting X demographic, because demographics are boxes and people don’t belong in boxes.

Remember tip number 8:

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